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DSD vs DSF vs DFF Files Audio | Read What Difference >

Audio Basis - educational articles

Read below about difference between DSD, DSF, DFF files audio.

Watch and share: DSD vs FLAC comparison

Watch and share: What is DSD audio? Video explanation


DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is one bit audio format for high resolution music. The format based on sigma delta modulation. Read details about DSD >

Music in DSD format may be stored into DSF and DFF files (.dsf and .dff file extensions respectively). Both DFF and DSF are DSD files.

I.e. DSD files is common term, that include both DFF and DSF audio files.


DSD versus DSF versus DFF files

dsd versus dsf versus dff files


However besides these kind of files, SACD ISO (.iso extension, 1-bit audio ISO) is DSD file too. SACD ISO contains text metadata, that may be extracted during SACD ISO to DSD conversion.





DSF and DFF files are able to contains binary identical audio content.

In .DFF audio content may be losslessly compressed. But it do not impact to sound quality.

Sound quality for both file formats is defined by:

  • recording, mixing, postproduction/mastering quality;
  • conversion quality (read below);
  • playback quality (read below).

Read more about DSD and its sound quality here >




Sometimes one bit DSD considered as more qualitative alternative for multi bit PCM. However it is not simple matter, that defined by implementation. Read more:



DSD converters

All DSD files (DSF, DFF, ISO) may be converted each to other without losses, when conversion don't alter sample rate.


DSD conversion

DSD converters


DSD resampling and other processing (even elementary gain changing) lose quality, comparable with PCM resampling. However it is not big matter for pro-audio processing.


Read more:



DSD audio players

DSD playback may be implemented two ways:

  • Convert to PCM and playback at PCM DAC (digital analog converter),
  • Playback straight at DSD DAC.

In general, second option is preferable. But real result depend on hardware and software implementation.



Check FREE DSD player list >

Check FREE DSD music downloads >


Read more about the players here > and here >

Read more about DSD and PCM DAC comparison >


Read below about DSF versus DFF playback, compression, editing issues ↓



Read the articles



DSF vs DFF for players

Playback sound quality is the same for both DFF and DSF.


DSF and DFF on DSD file player

DSF and DFF at DSD player audio files


DFF file don't support music metadata (song name, album, performer, artwork) standard way. However, the metadata may be stored as ID3 format into DFF file's chunk (internal data block). For access to the metadata, DFF file player must be able to recognize ID3-chunks.

DSF specification support the metadata. However may be issues with artwork size and/or resolution for DSF audio player.

To playback multichannel music at DSD player, the music is downmixed into stereo on fly. Sound quality of downmixing is implementation matter. To save hard disk space, you can pre-downmix it.

Read more about DSD players >



DSF versus DFF compression method

Current DSF specification note raw uncompressed packing only [1].

DFF may be stored as uncompressed as compressed by DST (Direct Stream Transfer) method [2].



DSF versus DFF editing

From sound quality point of view, for editing DSD files, file format is not matter.

Read more about DSD editing >



Read more:




Read more about DSD

  1. What is DSD audio >
  2. What is Audio Formats: DSD64 128 256 ... >
  3. DSD vs PCM. Real competitors? >
  4. DSF vs PCM. What is common base? >
  5. DSD Decoder Audio >
  6. How work sigma delta modulation in audio >
  7. DSD Converter of Audio Files: What Inside? >



Read more


Additional links

  1. DSF file format specification
  2. DFF specification
  3. DSD file samples (music)
  4. DSF test signal files


Read the articles

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